Feb 29, 2012

History Buff? Test and Polish Your UC Trivia!

Did you know that one of the first attempts to establish the University of Cincinnati back in the early 1800's was through a community sweepstakes to raise $6,000?! Sadly, the first half-built university building being funded by the lottery was destroyed by the disastrous tornado that struck Cincinnati in 1809.

In his first of seven UC history lectures, UC's own Greg Hand uncovers this suprising tale, among several other historical unknowns surrounding UC's most formative years. Hand, associate vice president, university spokesperson and resident history buff is delivering a series of free 55-minute lunchtime talks in the Tangeman University Center Theater the third Thursday of each month. Each installment takes the audience through another entertaining chapter of the university's storied history.
In his next session on March 15, Hand will explore the university's geography through the campuses UC has occupied over the centuries. Some of these campuses are large and permanent while some were just fleeting outposts. Some “ghost” campuses still haunt the landscape. All have unusual and surprising stories.

Get caught up on what you missed and watch the first two sessions here or on the Proudly Cincinnati YouTube channel: "Patrons & Poltroons" and "140 Years in 55 Minutes."

Even if you can't attend in person, you can participate in the remaining sessions too by tuning in live on our live streaming channel. Mark your calendars now:

12:30 p.m., March 15  --  Evolution of UC's Campus and Many Campuses of UC's Colleges
12:30 p.m., April 19     --  Student Pioneers: First Alumni
12:30 p.m., May 17     --  Origin of UC Regalia & Symbols

Surprise your friends with a ton of UC fun facts...you won't believe what all has happened in 200 years!

Feb 24, 2012

New Alumni e-Newsletter Might Spotlight You Next

If we don't have your e-mail address, chances are you missed the first edition of our new "UC Where You Are" e-newsletter! It's not too late to check out the full issue online and then update your contact information to ensure you receive the latest version in your inbox every few months.

Like this blog, the new e-newsletter is all about bringing UC to you...no matter where you live. Some of the staff at UC (like John Albachten featured in this first issue) have the good fortune to meet and stay connected with incredible alumni like you, all with awesome stories about life after, yet still including, UC.

Through them, we're finding out that the depth of stories surrounding your Bearcat communities all around the world is even too much for this blog to handle at times. And oftentimes, your stories of accomplishment and community building are a good reminder of the unique role UC still plays in your personal, professional and social lives - even long after you leave campus.

So this is our way of spotlighting the amazing things alumni like you are doing to advance UC, your communities, your industries and often, the world. We hope it inspires you to connect with your local Bearcat community, connected to UC and even share your story with us, if you feel so inclined. We'll be featuring the top alumni spotlights right here on this blog too, so be on the lookout for these most recent ones over the next couple of weeks!

Comment below or give us a shout on Twitter @UofCincyAlumni or at alumni.association@uc.edu to let us know what's new with you or even nominate a fellow alum to spotlight on this blog or in the next newsletter.

Hope you enjoy this first edition and let us know what you want to see in the next one!

Feb 14, 2012

Couple's Shared Love for UC Inspires Red & Black Wedding

Once upon a time there were two students so committed to UC that they were destined to a Bearcat romance. Their love story begins and continues with UC at its center.
Leah's formal where this love story began.

Seth Vensil's and Leah Taylor's stars collided in 2009 when Leah needed a date to her sorority formal. Mutual friends pinned Seth as the perfect match for Leah and sparks flew instantly. The couple capped off their perfect first date with a stroll around UC’s campus that landed them at McMicken Tower and their (then) favorite Greek hangout, Uncle Woody’s.

Two years later, their love story came full circle when Seth invited Leah back to McMicken Hall. He wanted her to kiss Mick and Mack for good luck before his medical boards the following day, but Leah turned around only to find Seth down on one knee. 
The couple recently set their UC-themed wedding for June 22, 2013, exactly two years from the date Seth proposed, and the same day as his parents’ anniversary. They are as head over heels for UC as they are for each otehr that they even arranged for Lucy the Bearcat to make an appearance at their wedding. Leah also now serves as the official contributor for Proudly Cincinnati's UC-Inspired Weddings board on Pinterest to share her Red & Black-inspired wedding ideas with other Bearcat couples.

As for planning their future together, Seth says, “As a medical student, my life after school is determined by what residency program I match into.  I would like to stay in the Midwest and specifically Ohio.  Really, I'm just excited that Leah is willing to pick up and go wherever I go.  She has been my main support through the last couple of years and I can't wait to start our life together, wherever that may be.”

The groom and bride spent
New Year's Eve together in Chicago.
Wherever their next landing, it seems UC will always hold a special place in the hearts of the young couple - especially considering their jam-packed commitment to UC as students. Leah, a social work major at the College of Allied Health Sciences, managed to juggle leadership positions in her sorority, Chi Omega, Student Government, Student Alumni Council, and Cincinnati Women In Excellence and Spirit Together (CWEST), among others. In between classroom and student organization life, she even found time to take a service trip to El Salvador and represent UC's School of Social Work on a state level by serving on several state committees through the National Association of Social Workers.

Seth, a Biology and Chemistry student at the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, loved his undergraduate experience so much that he continued on to study at the College of Medicine. Even with a challenging academic program, he served as president of his fraternity, Sigma Chi, and student trustee on UC's Board of Trustees. He stayed involved with 11 other organizations across campus, spanning Men of METRO and Sigma Sigma to ROAR and the Student Activities Board (SAB).

“My involvement in Greek Life and Student Government really cemented my love for UC and provided me with numerous opportunities.  I will always feel indebted to UC for allowing me such a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it is my lifelong mission to give back in any way that I can.” 

Always "Representing the C," Seth and
Leah sport their Metro and CWEST apparel
Both Seth and Leah continue to be involved as graduate students in the Cincinnatus Honorary Society Alumni Board and the UC Bicentennial Committee – The Best is Yet to Come.

Seth and Leah obviously embody what it means to be Proudly Cincinnati, and we wish them the best of luck as they embark on their new life together!

Did you marry a fellow Bearcat and theme your wedding Red & Black like Leah and Seth? Tell us all about it!

Feb 9, 2012

Campus Love Story: UC Helps 'Adopted Bearcats' Find Each Other

Can a new couple call UC “our school” if neither of them went there as a student? The couple in question, Keith and Janet Stichtenoth, thinks so — and so does everyone who attended their recent wedding on the UC campus.

MainStreet proves a natural backdrop for any UC couple.
In the spring of 2009, Keith, who was the Associate Executive Director of the UC Alumni Association at the time and now works in communications for the UC Foundation, met Janet VanderHorst. Janet worked in the UC Bookstore in Tangeman University Center and now manages the UC Medical Bookstore in the CARE/Crawley Building.

Each had come from a previous marriage that had lasted a long time but eventually dissolved. Each had worked at UC for a number of years — just “a few football fields apart” and parking each day in adjacent garages — but they’d never met. And each felt that they might be ready for “the right person to come along” if middle-aged good fortune were to smile on them.

Well, smile it did. Their UC friends and colleagues were delighted to watch a romance grow over the months that followed, providing a refreshing contrast to the teens and 20-somethings who bustled and coupled around them. “We had lunches on MainStreet and went on dates to CCM concerts and Bearcats baseball, soccer, volleyball and football games,” Janet said. “We even co-chaperoned a student bus trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.”

When it came time to make it official and commit to a rest-of-a-lifetime together, they felt the wedding and reception had to be held on UC’s beautiful campus, and specifically inside the Myers Alumni Center where they had spent so much time together, even working side-by-side at the UC Alumni Association’s Bearcat Blitz pre-game football events.

Non-football Saturday? Not so fast...Nippert
Stadium hosted the "Wedding Bowl."
“Have you picked a date yet?!” people asked frequently after their November 2010 engagement announcement. And they would repeatedly answer, “Not yet. We have to wait for the 2011 football schedule to come out so we can pick a non-football Saturday in the fall.” When October 8 proved to be "The Day," friends and family gathered on campus, inside and outside the Myers Alumni Center, for a gorgeous autumn afternoon and evening.

“Coming to UC eight years ago put my life on a new, positive course in many ways, and the best of those turned out to be meeting Janet,” Keith said. “Lots of circumstances and plenty of people played a part in us finding each other here, but UC itself might have been the most important. We are proud and happy Bearcats together.”

Janet agrees. “I have loved being on a college campus, and working at UC had already changed my life. Then to meet Keith here, to fall in love here, and to get married here and celebrate our new life together with so many of our UC friends — we both feel incredibly lucky.”

Know any other "non-traditional" Bearcat couples this Valentine's Day? Tell us how their love for each other and UC unfolded!

Feb 7, 2012

Father, Son Alums Publish Motivational Book about "Going the Distance"

How far are you willing to go for a loved one?

Sharing both the Bearcat and father/son bonds, UC alums Jim Serger Jr. and Sr. recently came together to answer this question on their own terms. The duo wrote and published their first book, Go the Distance, to share a redemptive personal story about the power of unconditional love through life’s greatest challenges.

For the Sergers, their greatest challenge – and the inspiration for their book – was Jim Senior’s battle with alcoholism. Despite the toll the disease took on the family, the Sergers came out of it stronger and with a personal testimony to the power of family commitment.

“The book is about highs and lows. It’s about being down in the valley and looking toward the tallest peak,” Jim Jr. said. “We wrote it to help others see that no matter how big the challenge, there are ways to survive the storm. Life gave us extra innings and we took advantage of them and we hope it’s an inspiration for anyone else facing the same family hardships we faced.”

Jim Jr. credits his UC experience for empowering him to overcome his family odds. “Once I graduated I was prepared to handle any obstacle. UC equipped me with the skills to handle the work place and anything life threw at me.”

Jim Jr. earned his degree from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences in 1991. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed aboard the USS Independence CV – 62. During his four year deployment in Yokosuka, Japan, Jim climbed Mount Fuji and backpacked throughout Asia. He currently serves as the plant manager at the Indianapolis Home City Ice.

His father, Jim Sr., was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies out of high school, but opted to play third base on UC’s baseball team. He graduated from University College in 1967. He raised his family in Anderson Township for 30 years. A youth baseball head coach for 14 years, Jim strengthened the bond between himself and his two sons through this shared love.

Let us know what’s inspired you to “go the distance” in your own life – this book, a friend’s advice, a UC professor or class?

Video courtesy of Cincinnati's Fox 19.com